The Duncan Experience keeps growing


VIDEO: Duncan comes through in the clutch to send Spurs to NBA Finals

OKLAHOMA CITY — Experience is the name men give their mistakes.

The Spurs have had nearly 12 months to learn from their very biggest.

On the first day of training camp back in October, coach Gregg Popovich showed them the video of everything that had slipped through their grasp last June in Miami.

As if they needed a reminder.

“It was just to put it away, get over that part of it, learn from it and move on from there,” said Tim Duncan.

So they’ve moved full circle, like the Earth around the sun, and here was Duncan, one of the immutable forces of basketball and nature, completing that orbit.

He’s done it so many times in the past– those critical rebounds, those key baskets, those difference-making plays — that you tend to nod your head and move on.

The official play-by-play sheet called it a 5-foot turnaround and the guy who typed that up probably would have called Rome just a city on some hills.

The Spurs had just a one-point lead when Manu Ginobili found him with the pass that OKC’s Russell Westbrook tried to swipe at and missed. Westbrook went around and underneath the play and took another swing at the ball and missed again down low. Duncan then rose up, let go with the turnaround over the outstretched arms of Reggie Jackson, but not before Westbrook took one more try and fanned one more time. The ball bounced off the front rim, kissed off the backboard and fell into the net.

“Finally got a roll,” Duncan said.

After four previous championships and five prior trips to the last series in June, the Spurs finally are making back-to-back trips to The Finals and it’s most important to be getting their chance to make up for the agonizing loss against the Heat.

The Spurs did it down the stretch without their starting point guard and best player Tony Parker, who was sidelined at halftime with a sore left ankle.

The Spurs did it against a Thunder team that probably had the two best individual talents in the series in Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

The Spurs did it with balance and patience and poise and trust and with a few of the usual tricks from Old Man Riverwalk, who at 38, is still pulling out those tried-and-true basic moves that keep working in every lunchtime game in every YMCA from sea-to-head-faking sea.

Duncan was 2-for-2 in the overtime with a pair of rebounds and scored the seven consecutive points that ultimately lifted the Spurs to the 112-107 victory over the Thunder and the Western Conference title.

As he’s done so often for 17 NBA seasons, Duncan was there to make the plays and do the heavy lifting at the end, which was particularly poignant in a year when the Spurs carried their burden.

“We just had a weird year,” Duncan said. “We were pressing hard early on and grinding on each other, just because of what happened last year.

“We were able to settle ourselves down. We played with a bunch of different lineups all year long. We had guys ready to play and it’s shown throughout these playoffs where guys just step up and step in and are ready.

“I’m proud of the team for just being ready, just not letting that weigh on us and using it as an excuse for anything. We’re back here now and we want to get it done this time.”

When the Thunder had used their young legs and a wave of youthful enthusiasm to win two straight games on their home court to tie the series, there was some thought that the Spurs were finally ready to pass into history.

Instead Duncan kept right on making it by hitting 14 of 27 shots, scoring 41 points and grabbing 27 rebounds in the last two games to keep the door closed on what is supposed to have been the ushering in of the Thunder Era.

“You know that he might be struggling one game or missing a few shots,” Ginobili said. “But he’s there and the opponent has got to respect him. He’s always ready with a solution down the stretch.”

As ready as he has been for nearly two decades in the league. As primed for this moment as since the last second that ticked off the clock last June in Miami.

“It’s unbelievable to regain that focus after exactly that, that devastating loss we had last year,” Duncan said. “But we’re back here and we’re excited about it and we’ve got four more to win. We’ll do it this time.”

Tim Duncan has had enough experiences.

58 Comments

  1. dylan19 says:

    Really Really Really hope Spurs will win. No matter what the result Spurs, Duncan, Parker & Manu will always in basketball fans heart. Spurs is my favorite team after 96-98 Chicago Bulls. Go go Spurs…Win it….

  2. TMac says:

    @ Kalbo!!…lol only sore losers make excuses and say “lucky”. We could say Spurs choked, right? I’m sure you and some other people would have said that if the Heat lost. I can name a few reasons why the Spurs lost….one of them is missing key free throws to ice the game at clutch time. Sorry bro, but Spurs had that game won, but fumbled it at the end….it was theirs to lose. So just go ahead and swallow that pill.

  3. Kobe-Carmelo-Love says:

    You are right there TMAC!!
    But this Finals, Spurs will get what is theirs last year..
    Next season, LA will be back..

    • TMac says:

      We shall see. If the Spurs win…it is what it is. They obviously were the better team if they win. You won’t see me up on here making excuses if the Heat lose……nah, I’m not like most NBA fans. If the Spurs when you will see me show nothing but the upmost respect for the Spurs and a Congrats. That is a promise.

  4. Kobe-Carmelo-Love says:

    Spurs will dethrone Miami.. But that’s their last in the West.. Wait for us next season..

  5. TMac says:

    *The Spurs had the game won and fumbled it*

  6. MR210 says:

    Spurs will get Redemption this year.
    Heat will be crushed by the Spurs. Heat have an ok bench – but not as good as Spurs.

    Look for the Spurs to annihilate Heat in 5 as Spurs have revenge on their minds.

    Nothing like going to battle against your mortal enemy…brings out the best in the team.
    They destroyed the Thunder and got revenge from 2012 and they will obliterate the Heat.

    Impressive run for Spurs – dispatching the 2nd best player on the planet (and MVP) KD and will send LBJ (best player on the planet) home…no three-peat…

    GO SPURS GO – DRIVE FOR FIVE!

  7. Kome the Black Dumba says:

    Before Kome fan boys rip me like a cleanlady and before lebronze fan boys falling like his hairline. Let me tell you all something.

    Lebronze should never compare to MJ. Their style wasn’t even the same. I think Lebronze is more like Magic but faster, stronger. Awful dribble skills and never a high percentage mid-range shooter.

    Kome on the other hand should compare to MJ as he copy all MJ set skills. Why would we want to idol a copycat when we have Jordan? If you like Elvis’s song, would you like to listen to a cover or the original?

    All in all, Jordan is well Jordan, so does Kome and Lebronze. Enjoy the ride fellas.

  8. Abdul says:

    I don’t care how you diminish either team or talk about how easy the road was or what your prediction for the series will be, or whatever other slander you can think of. Just enjoy the game. We are all about to witness one of the greatest finals ever.

    Arguably the greatest power forward to ever play the game versus arguably the greatest small forward to play the game.

    The Spurs are trying to claim consistent legendary dominance for over a decade, while the Heat are trying to immortalize their current remarkable dynasty.

    And while the stars might claim all the headlines, both of these teams have capable benches that will influence the series every game. May the greatest win..

  9. aha! says:

    Just stating that Heat got the easier conference, it’s a fact, not hating.

  10. manie says:

    they say the big money is made on the rematch. How come nobody talks about the spars making an easy trip to the finals last year.This years the trip to the finals was fairly easy for the spars and the heat.

  11. okcDoke2014 says:

    Heat are good but not like MJ’s Bulls, Spurs can beat them old school style !!!

  12. celentano says:

    To pakyaw @ 1. Kobe has to learn nothing anymore after 5 rings in the past. 2.What’s wrong with copy jordan game- style ,everybody who play’d the game during the jordan era try’d to do it on court because it works.
    3.What kind of gamestyle LEFAKE has? some Dunking,shooting ,alley-oops,running people over,flopping at best,whinning all the time to the ref’s,and at last he’s the best with taking extra steps in a scoring atempt ( travelling ).
    Pakyaw just continue looking roosterfights in the Filipino’s there, that’s better for you instead trying to bandwagoning the Cheat!

  13. ron says:

    East was deplorable, and HEAT would not have made it out of the west.
    THen the refs ……what is happening there? Used to be that the game was played by basketball players. Now “Superstars” like LeBron get all the help they need…..

  14. Stan says:

    Spur well play throughout this series….
    Win or Defeat they learn, adsorb and evolve to become better and better…
    TP may be injure but they play a different game plan with different set of players on the court…
    For the final …. Well the series starts without TP may be better .. let TP rest n fully gear up for the rest of the games…

    The teams in the East needs to beef up or else Miami may well get to the final every year until LBJ n rest of gangs retire..

  15. Shobe says:

    Kawhi Leonard block of Russell Westbrook is one of the best plays of game 6 that helped the Spurs won the game in addition to Tim Duncan crucial shots in the play. Please credit the player like Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw who were great in game 6 and hopefully Kawhi Leonard will shine more in the Finals with his great work ethics. Go Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli, etc. let’s go and win the NBA Finals Larry O’Brien Gold Trophy! Thank you Lord.

    • 37yrfan says:

      …yes indeed, an incredible block/steal…… maybe the play of the game. Also loved his running one hand slam over the fast-healer bouncing the ball off his buns…..perfect posterization of someone who enjoys doing it to others. The difference being Leonard just turned around and got back on defense……whereas Ibaka would have been screaming or pointing to the ceiling …….lol…..

  16. letsbereal says:

    So tired of the heat hate. The Heat were formed to combat the mighty Boston Celtics at the time, which all the West lovers seem to conveniently forget. Chicago would still be a beast if they had a healthy D Rose. And Pacers are still a great team.

    • 37yrfan says:

      …yeah….and one of the turncoat Celts changed his spots again to be with the frontrunner……

  17. GEORGE says:

    WHERE ARE THE FANS WHO SAID THUNDER IS GOING TO SWEEP IN THE SERIES

  18. atlantico says:

    Spurs play much better without Tony Parker.

    • Kalbo!! says:

      maybe so.. but i think it’s more because of the weapon the spurs always had.. they can win even when losing a key player.. That’s how deep they are..

  19. Benching says:

    Hats off to Coach Pop (-_-)

  20. Kobalt says:

    In other words, too bad the Spurs had to exert superhuman effort to get past OKC, and will once again be tired out for their series against the Heat, who will be well rested after a cakewalk through the Eastern Conference finals.

    • phillip says:

      How are they tired out 5 out of the 6 games they didn’t even play the fourth quarter.both teams went 6 games.they will be fine.

    • MR210 says:

      So 4 days off and Spurs will still be tired from the OKC series?

      That makes no sense.

      Don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

      Spurs have better bench and home court advantage.

      I see Spurs coming out unbelievably focused as they close out the Heat in 5.

      GO SPURS GO – DRIVE FOR FIVE!

    • 37yrfan says:

      ….”superhuman effort”…… hell, they hardly broke a sweat………lol…..

  21. celentano says:

    back to the future,so the cheat 3peat first time right?

    • Pakyaw says:

      @celantro , if the cheat will win this again, I bet your Kobe god will copy LEbrons move just like how he copycat MJ… What do you think? Learn from the best right?..

  22. timpson says:

    That’s why the spurs are good they play as a complete team not a one two punch.

  23. The AGELESS WONDER…TIM DUNCAN! GO SPURS GO!

  24. byakuyaboy28 says:

    Diaw is a bonus for us. Kawhi is a mistake-cleaner and hard fighter…Manu is being Manu always on edges but this was one shy to perfect series and a surpriser for the playoffs…TP needs a rest…He is a logo PG for us..He is so so worthy and must be ready for finals…Pop ..You were as calmy as ever, planistic, cycler, determined and patient…And nothing to say about TD…His my ultimate love and hero:)…Hope he will do it this time…Congrats Spurs fans and the city…Believe in and GO SPURS GO!!!
    Regards from ─░stanbul al America:)))

  25. byakuyaboy28 says:

    My man, Tim Duncan…Love you man, and I am half happy cause 5th ring is still waiting for us not granted…But we must do it Mr Fundamental…Before retiring you, all san antonio spurs crew must do it…

  26. Kingdom Man says:

    I think the Heat are in trouble. The Spurs are too deep, too experienced, too well coached and too well prepared. Props to the Heat and Lebron, who is truly a monster but I doubt they can match up.

  27. Chris says:

    One more round, and Duncan can hold trophy number 5. If this happens I won’t be surprised if he retires.. Bittersweet moment for sure, go spurs! Win or lose this one I still love this team!

  28. Kalbo!! says:

    Uhmm.. So, who’s that name again that said he have the boring spurs fade in to the sunset against okc in game 6?

  29. Dio says:

    Defense is the main key to beat Miami…. Go Spurs…..

  30. Shake says:

    It is not about who deserves it. It is about who goes and get it. Go Spurs!

  31. Ryan says:

    Yes, the East needs to build up staring next season, otherwise, the Heat will keep on going to the Finals without a fuzz. ALl the power teams are in the West…

  32. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    time to put the nail in the coffin of old man Duncan… “the MJ of our era” …. #3PEAT!!!

  33. Eaglos says:

    This team has a tremendous depth. How many teams would manage to pull it off at
    this stage without one of their “star” players and most importantly, their playmaker?

    Spurs deserved it, Popovic deserved it. I wish the East would have been more competitive
    so that Miami would struggled just a bit more before reaching the finals.

    • 19GnR21 says:

      well sir,I agree with you

    • heat2014 says:

      LOL heat hater

      • aha! says:

        Not a hater, it’s just a matter of fact. If the Heat and 1 western contender swap places, that western contender would’ve represented the East in the finals all these years. While the Heat has to face strong teams with different styles every round. Shoot-outs vs the Warriors, grinding against the Grizzlies and those 2 are the lower seeds. The Heats’ lack of depth means they will be battered by the time they reach the Finals, if they do.

      • letsbereal says:

        A what if scenario isn’t a fact, Nostradamus. But keep making things up in your head, while the Heat go for that three-peat.

      • en. says:

        No just real talk….heat is a good team but they would take there chances in the west .REAL TALK…..GET YO HEAD RIGHT!